Our 4 days in Lima were cut short by an incident at the Cusco airport that delayed our flight 2 days. (The good news is that no one was hurt in the incident.) So our short visit to Lima was focused on gearing up for an upcoming trek in the jungle to La Cuidad Perdida. We enjoyed the city and recommend stopping over for a couple days if you are heading to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
The city is perched on some dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a beach that stretches out for kilometers. There are nice promenades atop the cliffs and along the beach which make for nice running, biking or strolling. Surf breaks are within the city’s boundaries, and we saw more than a couple surfers navigating the city streets with their surf boards. The vibe and scenery feels very “Californian”.
We had a chance to check out the modern art museum which is set on a large park in one of the city’s centers. In addition to some great art, the museum has many indigenous and Inca artifacts. Both the park and art museum were quite nice.
Unfortunately, the day we visited the museum was also the day for an afternoon futbol match. Peruvians love their futbol, and the streets were jammed with vendors and spectators. It was absolute gridlock for hours.
They also enjoy their gambling, and Lima is filled with Casinos which seem to be visited by everyone, not just the “fat cats”.
If you go, Miraflores is the neighborhood to stay. The neighborhood is a little touristy, but it also has a very large residential area with beautiful old homes and leafy trees lining the streets. We found a great hotel, Tierra Viva Miraflores Larco, on a quiet street in the neighborhoodthat was walking distance to the beach, close to restaurants, very good surf shops, and a few barber shops (corto, por favor!). There are lots of good restaurants and shops as well. And the Shawerma is also there.
Until they build the new international airport in Cusco (which looks like it will decimate hundreds of hectares of beautiful, mountainous farm land), you pretty much have to fly to Lima to get to the Inca Trail so you may as well stop off for a couple days and check out the city – it is worth a look.